Sotheby’s Dealmaker Brooke Lampley to Depart for Gagosian

Her clients are known to include billionaires Ken Griffin and Stephen Schwarzman.

Brooke Lampley. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Key Sotheby’s executive Brooke Lampley is leaving the auction house, according to an email sent to staff by its CEO, Charles Stewart. 

Her next gig: Gagosian, where she will become a senior director, the mega gallery announced today.

As Sotheby’s global chairman and head of global fine art, Lampley, 44, oversees specialists across 11 departments, including contemporary, modern, Old Masters, Chinese, and Latin American art. Auctions, private sales, and online sales fall under her purview. She’s known to work with clients such as billionaires Ken Griffin and Stephen Schwarzman. 

The news of her exit arrives on the heels of the marquee May auctions in New York, during which Sotheby’s sold $633.4 million of modern and contemporary art, just shy of Christie’s $640 million. 

Lampley did not respond to requests to comment. Typically, executives have non-compete clauses that can keep them out of work for months. Gagosian’s announcement today was vague about her start date, only saying it will be “later this year.” 

Lampley assumed the role after the departure of rainmaker Amy Cappellazzo three years ago. At the time, Stewart tapped two younger female executives to take over Cappellazzo’s job: Lampley and Mari-Claudia Jiménez, a former estate attorney.

In her role as global head of fine art, Lampley helped Sotheby’s win major collections, including the Emily Fisher Landau estate last year and the Macklowe Collection, which was sold in November 2021 and May 2022. In 2021, at the start of her tenure, Sotheby’s total sales reached $7.4 billion, a record high in the company’s 280-year history.

Lampley, who came to Sotheby’s in 2018 from Christie’s, can be spotted bidding on an eclectic range of objects, from Rembrandts to jewelry and design.

“All of the clients I work with collect great things,” Lampley said in a 2021 interview. “They don’t collect works of art from 1910 to 1920. I think there was a period of time when people collected that way. That is no longer.”

Last year, Lampley placed the winning bid on Pablo Picasso’s Femme à la montre (1932), the star of the Emily Fisher Landau Collection, which fetched $139.4 million, the second-highest auction price for the Spaniard. She has also been the underbidder on the top two haystack paintings by Claude Monet, including his record $110.7 million canvas.

Sotheby's chairman Brooke Lampley on the phone for the winning bid of the Constitution at Sotheby's New York.

Sotheby’s chairman Brooke Lampley on the phone for the winning bid of the U.S. Constitution at Sotheby’s New York.

Lampley had a moment of internet fame in November 2022, during the record sale of a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

The piece, from the first official printing of the 1787 document, was estimated at $15 million to $20 million. The manuscript sparked an unprecedented crowdfunding effort by a group called ConstitutionDAO, which raised about $47 million in cryptocurrency from more than 17,000 people in a quest to acquire the document.

Lampley, representing Griffin, ended up defeating ConstitutionDAO, and in the process became an online sensation.

“There were some vicious memes, but they were still really funny,” Lampley told Artnet’s Annie Armstrong. “I refer to it as my peak fame. I think this is the greatest fame I will ever achieve in life, and that’s just fine.”

“We are grateful to Brooke for her many contributions to the company over nearly seven years,” Stewart said in a statement. “We wish her all the best and look forward to collaborating with her in her next endeavor.”

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